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Staying safe during below-freezing temperatures

If you have to head outside in these sub-zero temps, have an emergency plan in place and tell someone where you are going.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Temperatures have dipped to single digits, making it dangerous to be outside for prolonged periods.

Dr. Nicholas Kuhl, an emergency physician at Spectrum Health, says if your skin is exposed frostbite can set in within minutes. 

Kuhl says an early warning sign of frostbite is pain, followed by numbness, and your skin appears white or gray.  

He says if you have to head outside in these sub-zero temps, have an emergency plan in place and tell someone where you are going.

“Ensure that if things take a turn for the worst of the weather changes, you know what you're going to do to protect yourself. And then the second thing we can do is be careful with alcohol consumption. It can inhibit our decision-making, and it actually can reduce the amount of heat that our body produces," Dr. Kuhl said.

Be prepared with the appropriate clothing including a hat, scarf, gloves and boots. 

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